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What are the debtors responsibility in a chapter 7 bankruptcy if they say their debt was not included?

Midlothian, VA |

I have a medical debt from Patient First that was included in a chapter 7, they say this portion was not included. The bill is from 2005. I just became aware of this and after speaking with them last week, they turned it over to a collection agency! Are they nuts.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. They are not NUTS. They are in violation of the bankrutpcy discharge. And the debt collector is in violation of the FDCPA.

    You can just let it drop--but you should talk to a lawyer about going after them. Make good notes while this is still fresh in your mind.

  2. You did not tell us when the Chapter 7 case was filed and discharged, why you believe the debt was included, and why the hospital claims it was not included. Facts and details matters. The best place to start is the lawyer who handled your bankruptcy case.

  3. To add emphasis to the comments of your first responders: it is time to avail yourself of the assistance of local experienced bankruptcy counsel. The benefit of a bankruptcy discharge is not conditioned upon a debtor's accurate statement of the balance or services included. Notice to the creditor is what counts. (And, in fact, in most federal circuits the discharge even extends to omitted creditors in a no-asset/no-bar date case). Representing to you that the liability survived the bankruptcy has severe consequences for the creditor. The demand should be prosecuted as a violation of the discharge injunction, which does require reopening the bankruptcy. It is also a violation of the FDCPA, which in some circuits can be combined with the sanctions motion and in others, must be a separate state-court action. Attorneys take these cases without up-front fees because judgments obtained predictably include an award of attorney's fees.

    Best wishes for a favorable outcome, and please remember to designate a best answer.

    This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.

  4. It is not uncommon for a medical creditor to be accidentally left out of a bankruptcy case. Your first step is to look at your copy of the bankruptcy petition - specifically Schedule F (Unsecured Creditors) to see if Patient First was listed. If they were, then they should have received notice of your Chapter 7 case and marked your account as included in bankruptcy. If they were not listed, the debt has still been discharged under case law set out by the bankruptcy courts. If your attorney is unaware of this, or is unwilling to send a letter citing the relevant cases to Patient First, call another attorney.

    Nothing in this response creates an attorney-client relationship. The answer is provided as general information and cannot be relied on due to the many factors that can impact any situation when all of the relevant facts may not have been included.

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